The first time I had Scotch, I awkwardly told my tour guide I thought it tasted kind of like Chloraseptic. Iain, very diplomatically, said that Talisker is often described as medicinal. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t grow to love Scotch. He insisted that I would.
Turns out he was right. A few days later on our tour of Scotland, Iain insisted on buying my husband and me each a whisky for our anniversary. He got me a Dalwhinnie, and that drink completely changed my mind. It was smooth and even had a hint of sweetness (he said the proper term for the undercurrent I was tasting was “Christmas cake”).
When my husband and I returned to the States, we set off on a quest to learn more about Scotch and to taste as many varieties as we could. I’ve now tried many of the finer whiskies you can get here, and it’s now one of my favorite drinks. I can even appreciate Talisker, although the peatier whiskies will never be my favorite.
Here are a few things I learned about Scotch from Iain:
- Always drink it neat.
- Add one drop of water to the glass of whisky to open the flavor.
- Saying a whisky is peaty means that the grain was roasted over an open peat fire, so the smoke changes the flavor of the grain and the final product.
- Drink is slowly and savor the flavor–much like you would a fine wine. And learn all the tasting terms.
I have to confess I never did that last one.
My favorite whiskies are:
- Dalwhinnie (single malt)–you can learn more about Dalwhinnie from the characters in my novel.
- Johnny Walker Gold (blend)
- Macallan 18-yr (single malt)
And if you’re looking for a wonderful, customized tour of Scotland, I highly recommend Serenity Scotland.